All the good intentions in the world won't help you lose weight and get healthier if you don't change your lifestyle. Before you go crazy and radically change your diet, with the hopes of losing weight and shedding fat, there are a few things you should do or learn in order to have healthier eating habits. These habits will create a healthier lifestyle overall and aid in maintaining weight or fat loss goals.
Keep a Food Journal
The first thing to do is to figure out exactly what you're putting into your mouth and in what quantity. Oftentimes, a person eats a lot more than he or she realizes, and writing down every single piece of food eaten and beverages drank throughout the day is a giant wake-up call. Once you figure out exactly how many calories in total and what the macro ratio is (more on that later), it's easier to see where things need to be changed. Continue with tracking food until you are completely comfortable with planning and mentally journaling your daily food choices.
When you record your food, you can head online and find out the caloric intake in addition to the ratio of macros (protein, carbs, and fat). This will allow you to fine-tune your food intake as needed. Food records can be kept in a simple spiral-bound lined notebook, or you can use an elaborate specially designed book. It's up to you. The important part is that you actually write down everything, because when you report your intake, your accountability will increase and you may even experience results faster!
Before you start counting, you'll need to figure out exactly how many calories you need to eat. This is based on your age, gender, weight, activity level, goal, and how much time you have to lose the excess weight. You can use an online calculator to determine your Resting Metabolic Rate and from there, input your activity level to determine your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure). Your TDEE is the number of calories to intake per day to maintain your current weight. Once you determine your TDEE, you can decide if you want to maintain, lose, or gain weight. You play with your caloric intake based on that information.
When it comes to calories, one gram of protein has four calories, one gram of carbohydrates has four calories, and one gram of fat has nine calories. A good ratio in any healthy lifestyle is 40/40/20: 40 percent protein, 40 percent carbs, and 20 percent fat.
Measure Your Food